According to Fast Company, Apple may have its own 5G modems ready for production as early as 2022, ending its reliance on Qualcomm.
Apple has been trying to end its dependence on Qualcomm for some time now. Initially, the company switched to using Intel, while at the same time fighting a legal battle with Qualcomm over what it perceived to be unfair pricing. Ultimately, the two companies settled in April, followed by Apple promptly buying Intel’s 5G modem business.
Apple is likely looking to leverage its purchase to create its own modems where it would have full control. As Fast Company reports, Apple initially worked with Intel in the hopes of producing a “system on a chip,” where a modem would be integrated into a single chip along with the other processors Apple uses in iPhones and iPads. Doing so would provide significant power and energy benefits. Ultimately, that partnership ended because of Intel’s inability to deliver.
Now that Apple owns Intel’s modem business, the company will be free to continue its aspirations, without relying on other partners. Traditionally, Apple has always preferred developing its own chips. Prior to the switch to Intel, Apple partnered with IBM and Motorola to develop the PowerPC line of chips. More recently, the company has licensed ARM processors to create its A-series chips used in iPhones and iPads.
Despite Apple’s expertise in chip design, sources told Fast Company that 2022 is an optimistic launch window. Once the chips are fabricated, they must still be rigorously tested to ensure they work with carriers’ networks. One factor in Apple’s favor is the individual likely leading their modem efforts. According to FactCompany’s source, Esin Terzioglu, Qualcomm’s former VP of Engineering, is probably in charge of the 5G team.
Whether Mr. Terzioglu’s experience is enough to help Apple meet its goal remains to be seen.